Friday, August 13, 2021
The editor is taking a hiatus trying to learn logic. Please check back later. https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.6435-9/233414522_10159314495969920_4659910229964571291_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&ccb=1-5&_nc_sid=8bfeb9&_nc_ohc=nSza12huRj8AX-vCtL3&_nc_oc=AQnpFCSQKGE2OprpnQUH7v4uWm43VdKO8zSa28CobuR70Lb45te3ZSzbmbw7NZo5B3Y&tn=qeR2eExDsmyxugoE&_nc_ht=scontent-sea1-1.xx&oh=f0dcf5c17d680dae7027f3db817e0671&oe=613CD1C9
Thursday, July 15, 2021
Dust under the Rug
How Mom loved that tale
of “Dust under the Rug,”
with all its didactic
clamor and finger-shaking
to instill fear in her
dopey kids, that is, me
and my little sister.
Sis was a sucker
for such dire threats and took
them to heart, while I shook
them off with precocious
cynicism. My mind
translated “dust” into
gunk, crud, dirt, crap, trash,
or roach carcasses, mouse
turds, squashed peas, and, older,
into lines of metered prose
memoir poems, neo-
Beat bombast – other stuff
I then stuffed under the rug.
are the Big and Little Dippers
or Ursa Major and Minor,
seen by the Greeks as bears.
Would we love them more as
Momma Bear and Baby Bear,
Teddy’s that inspire insipid
cartoons and commercials,
Or do we embrace them
because they seem close enough
to dip water from a barrel and pour
it into a glass or because
they are so terribly far away?
The ticket taker says, “Thanks, Boss,”
The laundry man says, “No starch, Boss,”
The cleaning lady says, “Next time, Boss,”
And you grate at being called “Boss,”
Because you used to be a soda jerk,
gas-pump jockey, delivery boy –
The Reporter-Dispatch, special-
delivery mail, pharmacy prescriptions –
and got chased by the snarling Doberman
in the yard (“Don’t worry—he’s quite friendly!”)
and called “You Fock” by your rotten boss,
so you smile and squash the urge to say, “Don’t
call me ‘Boss,’” and squelch the itch to
reply, “You’re welcome, Mother Fucker.”
Sunday, June 6, 2021
Out of Kilter
All day the world felt just a bit off
balance. And yet, nothing was really wrong—
the late summer sun shone at least as bright
as yesterday (though not for quite so long).
Barbecue weather—kind of day to loaf
outside, tracking a hummingbird in flight.
The sun blazed crimson, dimmed, and then was gone.
Tonight, lying beside my wife, I caught
a knife-edged moon peering at us. I held her
tight to my chest, as though we both might float
away without seeing another dawn.
Hard to sleep when the world’s gone out of kilter….
Been meaning to catch up—figured to give
you a call soon. Your voice inside my head
retells a story. Smiling, I’m amused to
hear it again—till I recall instead
how this day was the first I’ve been alive
when you are not. Takes some getting used to.
in memory of Edward E. Smith, 1940-2012
Monday, May 24, 2021
Kelley Jean White --- three poems
There was thunder, and a mountain shattered, falling—
There was a single tree still standing in this city,
one tree beside a noisy street. (‘noise’ does not begin
to speak for all that sound.) And now that I have come back
even this last tree has fallen, unnoticed, with a silent swish
of still green leaves. Oddly, it struck no building, just
cobblestones and tar, trolley tracks, the cracked sidewalk
beneath its trunk and branches No lightning struck, no wind
sent it sprawling. It seems its roots simply released,
its little soil outgrown. It was my only tree here, and I
have left northern white mountains, racing rivers, torrents
of snow melt carving glacial caverns out of granite.
I had thought to see it, this one tree bloom into autumn, shade
into snow. Now there is nothing to see. But dirty glass and
crumbling buildings. Scars.
These are my woods
head past pumpkin plants
cross the brook onto the thick mat
of leaves and sticks and over
fallen trees. So many fallen trees.
There is the owl tree on the left,
empty of owls these past two years
below and above vernal pools
filled before dawn by last night’s rains
light slants through woods ahead
silence, broken for a moment
by what might have been a deer
not glimpsed, sensed; turn, look back
see the brilliant white birch trunks
let them draw your eye to peace
Tonglen practice, also known as “taking and sending,” reverses our usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure. In tonglen practice, we visualize taking in the pain of others with every in-breath and sending out whatever will benefit them on the out-breath.
How many years have we counted
each other’s breath? Tonight I have
barefoot tiptoed from bed to desk
from your curled back to a stone cold
floor. When I return you may wake
and roam the ticking quiet house.
But how many hours have we shared
with breath matched, dreams matched,
snores, sighs, stretches. Even the cats
stay attuned. Curved into the spaces
between us. The space made behind
our fitted knees, our pillowed necks.
Their purrs, their tiny sneezes. Their
paws. So I breathe in your pain as
my pain. Breathe out my hope for you,
breathe in your hope as mine. The cats?
Their dreams are soft and timeless.
Yours and mine? Carry a little fear.
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